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In the past you may have seen television commercials showing previously lame dogs jumping and running about like young puppies. These commercials were promoting Rimadyl, a drug introduced in 1997 by Pfizer Chemical for the treatment of hip dysplasia and arthritis in dogs. What the commercials carefully avoided was any mention of the side effects of Rimadyl in dogs.
Today it’s no longer possible to see those commercials because the advertising was halted by Pfizer for good reasons. As a dog owner, we are indebted to dogs like Montana, a six-year-old Siberian husky who had stiff legs. Montana was prescribed Rimadyl by his veterinarian and at first the drug appeared to work well. But then Montana lost his appetite, wobbled when he walked, and finally was unable to walk at all. He began vomiting and had seizures; eventually his owner was forced to put him to sleep. An autopsy was performed which showed the presence of liver damage that could only be associated with a harmful drug reaction.
Drugs for pets are big business in the United States, as well as in many other countries where pet animals are valued. It is estimated that world-wide, the sale of these drugs total more than 3-1/2 Billion dollars annually. Rimadyl is one of the bestselling drugs included in this estimate.
Rimadyl has been prescribed for more than four million dogs in the United States alone, and has earned Pfizer tens of millions of dollars. After introducing the drug, the company ran full-page magazine ads and a public-relations campaign that resulted in 1,785 print stories, 856 radio reports and more than 200 television news reports of the benefits of Rimadyl. What dog owner whose beloved pet was suffering from arthritis or hip dysplasia wouldn’t want such a “miracle drug” for their pet?
But Rimadyl has also resulted in many debates and intense arguments between veterinarians and pet owners who were furious that they were not warned of the risks of giving their pets Rimadyl.
After Montana’s owner contacted Pfizer and the Food and Drug Administration to complain about the early and untimely death of her dog, Pfizer offered to pay her $ 440 in what they called “a gesture of good will.” Today we can be thankful that Montana’s owner was insulted by Pfizer’s offer and their lawyers’ stipulation that she tell no one about the payment (or bribe as some would call it). She refused to sign any of Pfizer’s proffered documents and would not accept any money. She felt it was an affront both to her and to the memory of Montana to absolve Pfizer of any blame.
As additional reports of serious reactions and the deaths of many dogs started pouring into the FDA, the agency recommended that Pfizer list “death” as a possible side effect in a warning letter to veterinarians and also place a warning on the drug labels. Pfizer indicated this “would be devastating to the product” and after much stalling, eventually was forced to put the word “death” on Rimadyl’s labels and notify all veterinarians in writing.
The strongest blow to Pfizer’s inappropriate labeling and advertising was the FDA’s requirement that they mention the same warning on their television ads. When given an ultimatum about their commercials mentioning “death” or else pulling the ads, Pfizer chose to stop all television ads for Rimadyl. Although this came too late to save the life of Montana, he and his owner should be credited with bringing pressure to bear on the FDA and Pfizer and forcing them to begin warning of the possible serious side effects of Rimadyl.
Since the introduction of Rimadyl in 1997, the FDA has received reports of more than 1,000 dogs that died or had to be put to sleep, and 7,000 more that had serious adverse reactions after taking the drug.
Despite these serious side effects, the FDA has not ordered the removal of Rimadyl from the marketplace. The FDA requires safety and efficacy testing for animal drugs just as it does for human drugs. However, animal drug tests are conducted with a much smaller number of test subjects. Pfizer used about 500 dogs in their trials of Rimadyl, which is less than one fifth the number of subjects used in most human-drug trials. During Pfizer’s Rimadyl trials, some dogs developed unusual liver-function readings and one young beagle tested on a high dose of the drug died.
Neither the FDA or Pfizer found these effects alarming, and the drug was subsequently approved. A consumer group has mounted a campaign against Pfizer called BARKS, which stands for ”Be Aware of Rimadyl’s Known Side-effects.” Hopefully this organization will be able to influence more dog owners to carefully consider very seriously whether or not to have Rimadyl prescribed for their pet dog.
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It’s always a nice change when you can start off the day with some good news, so here’s some: Charlie Gurion and David Wilk, the newly married couple whose dogs disappeared when their Chicago apartment was burglarized, have been reunited with their pets.
Despite all the press coverage (and of course, coverage here at Dogster), what reunited the family was that grand old Internet standby, Craigslist. A man found the two French Bulldogs, Rue and Pierre, wandering around in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on Tuesday and brought them home just before a storm hit Chicago. More than five inches of snow fell on Chicago on Tuesday and Wednesday, causing transportation problems and power outages throughout the city. Gurion and Wilk had heard that people had seen Rue and Pierre walking around in Humboldt park, but when they went to search Tuesday night, the snow and rain was too thick for them to see.
"I was like, 'Literally, my spirit is cracked, I don't know how we can move forward if we don't have the dogs,'" Wilk told radio station WLS. "They are like our kids; we felt like two of our kids were kidnapped."
According to housemate Josh Crews, Gurion and Wilk offered a reward to the man who returned the dogs, but he declined. The dogs, however, were delighted to be back.
"When they came in the door they were so happy to be home that they went bonkers crazy," Crews said.
"We immediately just started bawling when we saw them," Wilk said. "Pierre fell asleep in Charlie's lap on the way home. I can tell Rue is a little timid right now. I feel like she's a little traumatized from being out in the cold, but she's coming around."
The couple say that they're going to get the two dogs microchipped immediately.
Our congratulations to the whole family, and we hope that they recover quickly from their forced separation.
Read the most talked about news on Dogster:
A few nice Tick images I found:
Ticked Off Trannies cast shot
Image by david_shankbone
Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives Shankbone blog post.
But we eventually got it all straightened out. The nice thing with the picnic table is that they were a) easy to line up and b) were forced to sit close together. The other times I’ve attempted group shots I just found the dogs too spread out so this was perfect. Good thing Boone didn’t come as he wouldn’t have fit!
We also had a little more fun with the fisheye lens this week. I still haven’t quite figured out how to get exactly what I want… but I’m having fun learning.
I also went and helped a rescue dog burn off some steam on the weekend. Unfortunately he cut one of his pads on the snow and was bleeding so we had to cut it short but we had a lot of fun. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed playing with and watching a really active dog. Kilo is with Windy City Canine Rescue and is still looking for a home if anyone out there in the blogosphere is interested!
In other exciting news to celebrate her birthday Lorelei is doing a project with 55 things and she chose my idea to use 55 dogs. So in a month or so, we’ll be attempting a giant group photo. It should be fun! I can’t wait. Wish us luck.
Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey
Over the past month or so PetsitUSA has undergone some reworking. You may not notice the differences, but the coding will make the site more secure and increase search engine rankings. If you are looking to join, then you can get a discount by submitting blog posts about pet sitting. These posts will also help increase the city rankings.
There have been some great contributions over the past few months. This offer was made in the fall, and it resulted in some excellent posts. It would be great to have some new voices!
Check out these Pest images:
2010 DoD Pest Management Workshop February 2010 (37)
Image by Armed Forces Pest Management Board
Picture from the DoD Pest Management Workshop held in Jacksonville, FL.
2010 DoD Pest Management Workshop February 2010 (56)
Image by Armed Forces Pest Management Board
Picture from the DoD Pest Management Workshop held in Jacksonville, FL.
Many pets come in daily because they are shaking their head, scratching their ears, or having gooey waxy stuff coming out of their red, painful, ears. Pet owners always ask, “What could be wrong?” “Could it be infection?” “Is there something down in there?” “Do they have ear mites?”
Red itchy, gunky, ears are a very common medical problem in both dogs and cats. However, it is a bigger problem in dogs, and especially common in Labradors. Ear problems can be mild. You may only notice an occasional scratch or shake, and the ear won’t look that much different. Moderate to severe ear problems can cause a really red ear filled with gunky wax.
The ear canals should always be checked for mites, ticks, and foxtails. This often takes a bit of cleaning and a look down in the ear canal with an otoscope. Dipping a Q-tip in the black waxy stuff in a cat’s ear and spreading the wax on a slide may show ear mites, a common cause of ear problems in cats. If ear mites or other critters aren’t found, and there isn’t a foxtail or tumor down in the canal, and the ear is red, gunky, and painful…then infection and irritation is the culprit.
The hairy, small canals of toy breeds and other individual pets can cause moisture and wax to build up. Once this wax builds up and becomes soupy, lots of bugs can grow and cause the painful signs we see. Bacteria and yeast will over-grow in a warm, moist, soupy ear and they will cause redness, swelling, and pain. Trimming or pulling the hair from inside the ears and bi-weekly ear cleaning solutions may be necessary to keep the wax from building up, and providing a great home for the bacteria and yeast to grow. Removing hair to allow more air to circulate and dry the ear and cleaning out built up wax may help prevent ear infections.
Allergies are the largest cause of ear infections. Reactions to pollens and molds and food ingredients are the most common cause of red, itchy, goopy ears that never seem to clear up despite repeated treatments with antibiotics and ear cleaners. If your dog scratches their ears and chews at their feet, then they are suffering from hay fever. When the pollen count rises, their ears and feet will itch. Itchy ears produce more wax and can become infected with the bugs we talked about before. Weekly shampoo and conditioner, a daily rinse, or moist wipe of the feet, body, and ears may help remove irritating pollens. During the times the pollen count causes itching, an antihistamine like Benadryl, or a prescription of anti-inflammatory from your vet may help.
One of the most common causes of allergic ear infections are food allergies. Dogs are affected much more than cats, but I’ve seen a few cats with itchy ears that responded to a change of food ingredients. Both ear and skin problems can result from allergies to wheat, beef, or chicken in the food. The best hypoallergenic ingredients are duck or fish, and potato combinations. If you are going to try a limited ingredient food trial to see if food allergies are the cause of ear infections, you have to feed a hypoallergenic diet and avoid wheat in all treats, biscuits, or chews. It usually takes at least a couple months to see if a limited ingredient diet will help those red, itchy ears. The diet usually will really help in at least half of all chronic ear issues. (A hypoallergenic diet may also help with skin, bowel, anal gland, and seizure problems!). If a pet produces lots of wax, regardless of the cause (small or hairy ear canals, allergies to pollens or food ingredients) then ear washes once to twice weekly may be needed to prevent chronic ear infections.
A food trial takes about 2 months to see if it will make a difference with ear or skin problems. That same hypoallergenic, limited ingredient diet is discussed in Dog Dish Diet, and if you want to home cook for your pet, Feed Your Pet to Avoid the Vet. Feeding your pet better ingredients may help with all allergies, seizures, bladder issues, and other medical problems. Click this link for more info: http://dogdishdiet.com/order-now
If your dog have really painful ears and needs temporary relief, you can use dawn detergent to wash the ears with a vinegar rinse. You can also use aspirin (dogs only) and Benadryl for pain and itching. This is only a temporary treatment until you can see your vet. But these painful episodes always seem to happen night, weekends, and holidays when treatment can be more expensive! You can also download a free PDF, Dr Greg’s 11 Practical Home Remedies, for temporary treatment of common medical issues. You can google it, or find it at http://www.dogdishdiet.com/dr-gregs-11-practical-home-remedies-for-dogs-and-cats/
Here’s a video on what makes dogs itch!